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National Flag Day, Mourning Period for Orlando Victims Overlap

  • VOA News

FILE - A U.S. flag is seen in Normal, Ill., March 30, 2011.

FILE - A U.S. flag is seen in Normal, Ill., March 30, 2011.

Tuesday is national Flag Day in the United States. While it is not a full-blown federal holiday, Flag Day is meant for Americans to recognize the importance of the flag and its place in U.S. history.

Especially now, Tim Lankford of the American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis told the Chicago Tribune.

His statement comes just days after the worst mass shooting in the country's history when ​Omar Mateen went on a rampage at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others.

"We would hope, or I would hope, the flag symbolizes everything America stands for and its Constitution," Lankford told the newspaper.

Flag Day: June 14 (Tuesday) is national Flag Day in the United States.

Commemoration: The date commemorates the adoption of the U.S. flag on June 14, 1777. The entire week, through Saturday, is designated Flag Week.

National holiday: On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation for nationwide observance of Flag Day. In 1949, Congress passed legislation — signed by President Harry Truman — that made June 14 national Flag Day.

Flag display: The flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset. If there is inclement weather, an all-weather flag should be used.

Orlando victims: President Barack Obama declared a national period of mourning for the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, with the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff until Thursday (June 16) at the White House and all public buildings, military posts and naval vessels, as well as at all U.S. embassies and other facilities abroad.

Can’t lower flag to half-staff? The U.S. flag code doesn’t specifically address what to do if a flag can’t be flown at half-staff, such as those affixed to poles outside homes. U.S. Army Flag regulations allow for a black mourning streamer or ribbon to be attached to the top of the flag.

Flag etiquette: However, experts said it is not disrespectful to those in mourning if the flag is left in its normal position.

John Hartvigsen, president of the North American Vexillological Association, told the Chicago Tribune that the normal flying of a flag still would honor victims of Sunday’s tragedy.

"It was not just an attack on the gay community and people in Florida, it was an attack on every American," Hartvigsen told the newspaper of the shooting.

U.S. flag facts: The U.S. flag is older than the Union Jack of Great Britain and the tri-color flag of France, according to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It also is the only flag to have been flown on the moon,

Flag design: Legend has it that Pennsylvania seamstress Betsy Ross designed the flag.

Pledge of Allegiance: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Sources: Chicago Tribune,,, Veterans of Foreign Wars